|By Sujay Mehdudia||October 2017|
MANAMA (Bahrain). BIDEC 2017, or the Bahrain Intrnational Defence Exhibition and Conference, took off in style here October 16.
The Royal Guard Commander and Chairman of the High Organising Committee BIDEC, Brigadier-General Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, inaugurated its first edition which is witnessing participation from international defence and technology companies in the fields of sea, air and land.
Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al Khalifa, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister, visited the event.
The three-day exhibition was kicked off in the presence of the Royal Guard’s Special Force Commander, Major Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, a number of military officials and Chief of Staff, who are participating in BIDEC 2017.
The Royal Guard Commander, BIDEC High Organising Committee, His Highness Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al-Khalifa (Left) on the booth of Leonardo during the official opening of BIDEC 2017, Bahrain International Defense Exhibition and Conference in Manama.
The Royal Guard Commander exchanged cordial talks with BIDEC participants, stressing that BIDEC, being the first integrated international event of its kind in the region, includes land, air and marine defence tools, and provides a venue for experts, specialists and representatives of mega defence equipment companies to meet under one roof. He said the event would be a bi-annual affair and would grow in size and participation in the coming years. Several global defence companies, including Lockheed Martin, Bell Helicopter and Thales, are showcasing advanced military equipment at the event.
Shaikh Nasser also received the UK Ambassador to Bahrain and exchanged talks on different issues during the meeting.
The Royal Guard Commander noted that hosting the first edition of BIDEC underlines a number of important facts, mainly that the exhibition industry in Bahrain has been a great success and BIDEC is on the way to achieve a paradigm shift and new successes added to the achievements of Bahrain in the exhibition industry field, thus gaining firm foothold on the world map in this vital field of investment and promotion.
The BIDEC 2017 event is being held under the patronage of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the Supreme Commander, from October 16-18 at Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre.
The idea of the exhibition as well as the regional coalition meeting on the sidelines of the event is to position Bahrain as a gateway to the Middle East and investment-attractive environment and a major hub for industry expos in the region. Bahrain in fact has always been known for its liberal investment climate.
Officials at the exhibition told India Strategic (www.indiastrategic.in) the big participation of exhibiting global companies in BIDEC is considered a very important indicator of the Bahrain Kingdom’s role in regional peace and stability. The country’s strategic location, strong international relations and trust with partners mandated an important approach towards peace and stability.
Shaikh Nasser noted that BIDEC will also host a number of events at various sites across the country, away from the venue of the exhibition. There would be Parachute Demonstrations, Shooting Demonstrations, Military Vehicle Demonstrations and a Warship Display. Incidentally, the US Navy maintains a big base in this island nation form where aircraft carriers and other vessels patrol the strategic waters of this oil rich Gulf region.
BIDEC’s unparalleled success could be gauged from the fact that it has brought together more than 50 senior military and political leaders and officials from friendly and allied countries, with more than 180 exhibitors and international manufacturers and suppliers of the most advanced equipment, technology and military systems, as well as 115 display stands at the exhibition, attracting local, regional and international audience of key decision-makers from governments, armies and defence industries from more than 50 countries.
Shaikh Nasser said that the world is witnessing a series of successive events, in which rapid changes are taking place that cast a shadow of its impact and risks over all, thus affecting growth and development. They also highlight the inevitability of forming military alliances between international forces, in order to serve as an effective barrier against the negativity of those variables, strengthening the workforce and coordinating the efforts so that the world be a coherent force that shares common visions and a common position.
The organizing of Middle East Military Alliances and Coalitions Conference (MEMAC), which will be held alongside the Bahrain International Defence Exhibition (BIDEC), is important as it will provide a roadmap to the way the whole region will respond to the forces promoting terror. This meet will discuss and come out with solutions for counter terror measures that coalition forces need to take in the region to make it safe and secure.
The Royal Guard Commander observed that it is from that perspective that MEMAC is organized in Bahrain, which aims at highlighting the importance of military alliances, and its role in creating a united and cooperative world in an opportunity to exchange ideas, opinions and strategic visions of the participating alliances as well as discuss the latest security and military developments regionally and internationally.
The MEMAC Conference is organized in conjunction with the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism and the Arab Coalition in Yemen and participants from major international military alliances such as NATO, UN Peacekeeping Operations and international officials and representatives of global think tanks.
Shaikh Nasser said that it is from that perspective that MEMAC is organized in Bahrain, which aims at highlighting the importance of military alliances, and their role in fighting against extremist terrorist organizations such as “Daesh”, ” Hezbollah” and ” Houthis” that threaten global security and stability. It will also highlight the nexus between politics, diplomacy and military action.
Various sessions at the conference are focusing on the challenges faced by joint operations and command structures and the political and diplomatic constraints to the process of developing an effective collective-defence mechanism.
The international conference is examining two main aspects: the strategic political perspective of military alliances and the military operational perspective, and will serve as a global platform for exchanging ideas and opinions on the latest security and military developments both regionally and internationally, especially with regard to combating terrorism and attempts to destabilize security and stability in the region, in cooperation with the Arab Coalition for the Support of Legitimacy in Yemen and the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism, led by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Derasat, Bahrain’s offical tuink tank, is participating actively in the conference in line with its role in spreading peace, promoting dialogue and serving sustainable development.
Shaikh Khalid stressed that BIDEC 2017 boosts Bahrain’s status on the world map of specialised exihbitions and conferences, and consolidates its Arab, regional and international role in this regard, explaining that the event provides a suitable venue and platform to broaden the military partnership and participation with defence products, which will contribute to developing the military infrastructure in the exhibition industry.
BIDEC 2017 is held at a time the security and stability of the region and the world are at risk as a result of the increase of the organised terrorism phenomenon, extrenmism in all its forms, piracy and cyber attacks which are sponsored and supported by some countries, governments, and extremist groups in a bid to ignite conflicts and tensions across the region and the world.
The conference is expected to call on the international community to assume its responsibility and confront those countries and entities that provide incubator environments and safe havens for terrorism, as well as support it and finance it, through cooperation and effective participation in regional and global alliances at all levels and with greater resolve and determination.